While the Second City often takes an undeserved back seat to the likes of New York and Los Angeles and other areas, it definitely hosts some of the very best restaurants and chefs in the United States and the world.
Here, in no particular order, are just a few of great examples.
XOCO (Rick Bayless)
No one takes precedence over this chef, who spent six years studying Mexican cuisine in-country before opening his landmark restaurant, La Frontera, His second effort in the city, XOCO, concentrates on the street food of the country he loves and has an atmosphere that can only be described as electric.
Alinea (Grant Achatz)
One of only two restaurants in Chicago to receive three Michelin stars, Alinea is renowned for the way it serves traditional flavors in unique textures and formats. If you are looking for a meal that beguiles all of your senses, this is the place for you.
L20 (Matthew Kirkley)
One of the finest seafood restaurants in the country, bar none including Le Bernardin in N.Y.C., this restaurant is once again on the rise in the opinion of critics and customers alike. For the bet experience, consider ordering the tasting menu – ahead of time, of course – and be willing to pay.
Goosefoot (Chris Nugent)
With only 34 seats and a BYOB policy, this is not your ordinary, high-end restaurant. The chef and his team are all about the food, the food and the food again. The menu combines traditional French techniques with ingredients that must come from within a 50-mile radius of the restaurant.
Takashi (Takashi Yagahashi)
Featuring a fusion of French and Asian cuisine, this restaurant and chef have completely redefined the genre. While the ingredients are decidedly Japanese, their preparation borrows almost exclusively from the French. The result is a singular delight for the palate.
TRU (Anthony Martin)
If contemporary American cuisine is what you are after, look no further than the restaurant of this stylish and devilishly clever chef. The food, while recognizable to any foodie, is never quite what it seems. Mr. Martin layers unexpected flavors and nuanced hints to create some of the most ingenious dishes in the city.
Spiaggia (Tony Mantuano)
The Italian culture of Chicago has been refined over the course of a century. Starting with simple concepts of the first immigrants to the city, Spiaggia has taken this cuisine to another level entirely. You will not find chicken cacciatore or spaghetti puttanesca, but you will find the finest veal dishes and the most sublime pasta creations.
Twin Anchors (Paul Tuzi)
A favorite haunt of the rich and the knowledgeable – both Frank Sinatra and Emeril Lagasse have declared it the best BBQ in Chicago. Twin Anchors is more famous to the locals as a great place to hang out. For a real, down-home taste of Chicago, the ribs are a must-have. Also, this "joint" is easily the most affordable place on this list. Do not miss it.
The Publican (Cosmo Goss)
Do not let the name or the ambiance fool you. This hot spot is far more than just a bar. Their five-course, cider-paired, tasting menu is renowned throughout the Midwest. For a little rambunctious fun while still dining in the finest manner, try The Publican. With a name like Cosmo Goss for the chef de cuisine, how can you go wrong?